2013 horror movie Jug Face (AKA The Pit) reunites The Woman‘s Sean Bridgers, Lauren Ashley Carter and producer Lucky McKee for another genre gem set at the bloody intersection of feminism, religion and domestic abuse.
More specifically it is set in a backwoods community who worship a pit, to which (or possibly whom) they sacrifice their members according to whose face appears in the jugs that Dawai (Bridgers) makes out of clay. This totally cool arrangement falls apart when Ada (Carter) discovers and hides her jug face, kickstarting a grizzly spiral of incest, ghosts and dead babies.
It sounds grim but Chad Crawford Kinkle’s film is surprisingly fun, buoyed by a dark eccentricity that’s equal parts Rosemary’s Baby, The Wicker Man and Shirley Jackson‘s The Lottery. Short and sharp at 80 minutes (and presumably costing a pittance), the insane yet intelligent story raises a series of ethical questions and interesting ideas, almost a folk horror version of Minority Report.
Though Ada acts against the group’s interests, one can’t help but root for the independent and protective young woman, thanks largely to Carter’s intensely sympathetic features. Bridgers is also likeable as Dawai (no mean feat considering his terrifying roles in The Woman and Room), and Sean Young frightening as Ada’s Margaret White-style mother, her “The pit wants what it wants” motto making the cult sound like the Claw-worshipping aliens from Toy Story. Except redneck instead of greenfaced.
From the hand-drawn title sequence to the loudly grinding kill shots, Jug Face proves a provocative picture about secrecy, heresy and the price of rebellion.